Digital ministry takes centre stage at Ripon Cathedral

27 NOV 2020

Ripon Cathedral is investing £63,000 in new online streaming equipment thanks to grants received from Allchurches Trust and the Church Commissioners.

Online streamed services began during the first lockdown and very soon the cathedral was able to offer a daily streamed evening prayer, a weekly reflection and a Sunday Eucharist. The services have gone from strength to strength with the audience growing to more than 600 subscribers, some from as far away as California and New Zealand. Larger services, for example for VE Day, attracted more than 2,000 viewers.  

The cathedral has also livestreamed weddings and funerals to people who could not attend because of the strict cap on numbers, and these have been seen thousands of times. However, delivering this high quality output has only been possible because nearly all the equipment has been borrowed.  

Now a grant of £10,000 received from Allchurches Trust will pay for new cameras and microphones that will improve the quality of services for the growing online community. 

The Very Revd John Dobson, Dean of Ripon, said:  “I cannot thank Allchurches Trust enough for the support they are giving us in this essential area of ministry. Twelve months ago, this sort of development was on our agenda for the medium-term future. The experience of this year has changed that completely; it is now an urgent matter and an area of our work that is simply indispensable.  

“It is particularly valuable at this time as we have big plans for Christmas which this grant will help us deliver, including live streamed carol concerts for people to sing along to at home, organ recitals and other services”. 

Andrew Bass, Grants Officer at Allchurches Trust, said: “Through our Hope Beyond programme, we’ve been able to help cathedrals and churches of all sizes all over the UK and Ireland to improve their digital capacity and resilience. We’re delighted that our funding will enable Ripon Cathedral to build on the huge progress already made during the COVID-19 lockdown to reach more people with their services and support, including vulnerable people who may always have struggled to access physical church services, and bring joy and hope to all.” 

In addition to the Allchurches grant, the cathedral has been awarded additional grants of £53,000, which will finance a new website, IT equipment for better quality streaming and recording of services, cabling and staff support costs. 

Looking further ahead into the New Year, the cathedral would like to develop a more extensive range of online services for the congregation and the wider rural community, particularly as the need to socially distance looks set to continue. 

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